The Japanese seafood giant will access UMAMI Bioworks’ cell cultivation development and manufacturing platform as part of a collaboration to develop and commercialize cultivated seafood production in Japan and beyond
JAPAN — UMAMI Bioworks (formerly known as Umami Meats), a Singapore-headquartered company developing the development and manufacturing system for producing cell-cultivated seafood, announced their official collaboration with Japan’s largest seafood company, Maruha Nichiro (TYO: 1333).
While the demand for seafood has been growing worldwide, supply shortages are becoming a huge risk due to factors like overfishing and marine pollution. These challenges have led to decreasing wild-catch volumes, as well as health concerns around microplastics and heavy chemicals in seafood. In particular, Japan’s self-sufficiency rate for seafood remains at a low level of 55%, while the domestic wild-catch volumes have decreased approximately 65% over the last 30 years. This poses great risks not only to consumers, but also to the Japanese seafood industry, fishermen, and the overall economy.
Under such circumstances, cultivated products have attracted worldwide attention, with global investment in cultivated products reaching $2.8 billion in 2022. However, many Japanese companies are still lagging behind in participating actively in this industry. Maruha Nichiro has stepped up as a leader to ensure a sustainable supply of seafood worldwide, and to make its first formal investment in a foreign cellular agriculture company with the aim of laying the foundation for Japan’s cell-cultivated seafood industry.
UMAMI Bioworks and Maruha Nichiro will be working to build the infrastructure of Japan’s cultivated seafood industry together in this partnership. The strategic investment from Maruha Nichiro will help accelerate Umami’s development progress. The two companies will also carry out a multi-faceted collaboration to accelerate the path to cultivated seafood commercialization.
With this investment, UMAMI Bioworks will be able to expedite their long-term plan of building a research and commercial team in Japan. In turn, Maruha Nichiro will have a third method of sustainable production, other than fishing and aquaculture, for increasingly scarce seafood species.
By establishing a production pipeline of cell-cultivated products for the Japanese market, both companies will develop a foundation for cell-cultivated in Japan and provide the market with a sustainable and stable supply of locally produced seafood.
Maruha Nichiro shares, “UMAMI Bioworks has successfully developed prototypes of cell-cultivated seafood products through their proprietary technology. They are actively engaged in activities such as exhibitions and tasting events to enhance awareness of cell-cultivated seafood. Cellular agriculture is an emerging industry, and for Maruha Nichiro, promoting consumer understanding is as crucial as establishing the technology, as we work towards creating a new market.
As a means to address the anticipated protein supply shortage in the future, Maruha Nichiro highly values UMAMI Bioworks as a business partner as they are focused on establishing the production technology for cell-cultivated seafood products, while sharing our vision to accelerate the commercialization of cellular agriculture.
Mihir Pershad, CEO of UMAMI Bioworks, “Our seminal partnership with Maruha Nichiro, a global leader in crafting beloved food products, is a pivotal step in achieving our mission of addressing the challenge of feeding a growing global population while minimizing environmental impact. We have the development and production technology, but we require experienced partners with global reach that can help us manufacture and deliver cultivated products to consumers.
Through collaborations with industry leaders like Maruha Nichiro, we can leverage our technology expertise to support the creation of delicious, nutritious, and appealing consumer products that secure a healthier and more sustainable food future for the world.”
About UMAMI Bioworks
UMAMI Bioworks is a Singapore-headquartered company pioneering a standardized, modular, and automated production platform for cultivating 'not caught' seafood. We are bringing together novel stem cell biology, machine learning, and automation to create the operating system for cultivated seafood production, empowering traditional seafood suppliers to produce a stable, resilient, local supply of culturally relevant seafood products free from mercury, antibiotics, microplastics, and ocean pollutants.
UMAMI Bioworks is dedicated to regenerating our oceans and our planet by enabling consumers to access delicious, affordable, nutritious seafood from culturally important, prized species while providing a sustainable alternative to overfishing of ETP (endangered, threatened, and protected) species.
For more information, please visit: https://www.umamibioworks.com
About Maruha Nichiro
Since its founding, Maruha Nichiro has been feeding the world with healthy, high-quality fish rich in protein. Maruha Nichiro aims to be a sustainable seafood supplier for future generations, and a comprehensive food company that provides “Bringing Delicious Delight to the World”.
From August 2021, Maruha Nichiro has been working on joint research and development of cell-cultivated seafood products with domestic companies. By collaborating with overseas companies like UMAMI Bioworks, Maruha Nichiro will expand and enhance their research and development system, accelerating their processes toward early commercialization of cell- cultivated products.
Corporate site: https://www.maruha-nichiro.co.jp
Umami Bioworks is one of our portfolio startups in Plug and Play APAC. As an in-house venture capital, our goal is to fund the teams that are building the defensible businesses of the future. By leveraging our capital, our network of VCs, and our corporate partners, we give our portfolio companies an added advantage. Join our platform today!
Written by: Umami Bioworks
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